Ukraine arrests high-ranking public figures suspected of spying for Russia

Kyiv, June 21 (Reuters) – Ukraine has arrested a senior government official and a business leader suspected of being part of an alleged Russian spy network, Ukraine’s Security Service said on Tuesday.

The Security Service (SBU) did not name the two suspects, but identified them as senior officials in the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers and as department heads at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a business lobby.

A statement on the Telegram app said it was conducting a “multi-stage special operation” to neutralize the suspected spy ring.

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“As a result, the head of a department of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers and the head of one of the directorates of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry were arrested in Kyiv,” the SBU said.

“These officers have passed various intelligence information to the enemy: from the state of our defense capability to state border precautions to personal data of Ukrainian law enforcement officials.”

Russia did not immediately comment on the SBU statement.

The two main suspects were shown in video sitting in front of a Ukrainian flag and said they had collaborated with Moscow, with which Ukraine has been at war since Russia invaded its neighbor on February 24.

It wasn’t immediately clear if they were speaking under duress.

The SBU said Russia paid the suspects between $2,000 and $15,000 per task, depending on the level of classification and importance of the information. One of the men said in the video he received a total of $33,000 for his activities, the other said he received $27,000.

One, codenamed “Kireev,” said they had been working together since 2016. The other said he had been doing this since 2019.

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Reporting by Max Hunder, editing by Timothy Heritage and Frank Jack Daniel

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Policy.

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